The State can join the league of pioneers of solar energy in the country if its efforts to install 1,000 MW solar energy plants are fruitful within a year.

Solar energy is likely to be available at a price of Rs.8 to Rs.8.50 per unit. The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC), Solar Energy Society of India and NREDCAP jointly organised a seminar on ‘Developing Vijayawada as a solar city’ here on Wednesday.

On the sidelines of the seminar, former advisor to Government of India (MNRE) E.V.R. Sastry said: “My estimate is that the State has a potential to install 10,000 MW solar power plants in the next 15 years.” Gujarat is marching ahead of others in the country.

Even before the Central government announced the National Solar Mission, solar energy was being generated in Gujarat. Gujarat has solar power units generating 824 MW, and Rajasthan stands in second place with 440 MW. Andhra Pradesh has a 22.4 MW solar energy plant while Maharashtra has 24.2 MW, he explained.

Of course, the climatic conditions matter. Gujarat and Rajasthan have dry weather conditions and solar radiation is high compared to Andhra Pradesh.

In our State, Rayalaseema region has good potential to tap solar energy. Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nalgonda are some of the districts suitable for solar power plants while Krishna district is not that suitable, he opined.

The State government has received bids close to 200 for the installation of solar energy plants across the State. The bidders have quoted prices ranging between Rs.6.50 per unit to Rs.12 per unit.

The bids hovered in the range of Rs.6.50- Rs.8.50-Rs.10 and Rs.12. As per the conditions, the government has to consider the lowest bidder.

The tenders are likely to be finalised shortly and the plants will be commissioned within a year, he said. Now, the question before the government is:

What if the lowest bid is high compared to bids in other places? For instance, if the bid is Rs.9 per unit in a place X, which is quite high compared to Rs.6.50 in place Y. To tide over it, the government is chalking out a benchmark price for purchasing solar power generated in the State, he added.

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